How To Get Started With Creative Journaling

July 28, 2021
Inspiration

Guest blog by Nicole Momberg

Nicole Momberg

Nicole is a recovering perfectionist and people pleaser.  After years of battling self doubt in a job she didn’t love, she rediscovered the power of journaling as a personal development tool.  Upon receiving her JRNI Life Coach Training certification in 2019, Nicole launched a coaching practice focused on helping others find clarity and trust their intuition.

You can follow Nicole’s work on Instagram @thetravelingcatalyst


The Benefits of Reclaiming Our Right to Write

I stopped journaling after my college boyfriend read my diary. It was filled with the darkest secrets imaginable to my teenage brain. I was so mortified, I didn’t pick up a pen to write again for nearly a decade.

As the years passed, I missed the feel of the pen scratching away on paper and the way my thoughts would flow as I fell into the rhythm of writing.

Gradually, I allowed myself to dabble with journal keeping again. I started small. The pages contained lists or superficial notes. I was scared to be too vulnerable lest anyone stumble upon my writing again. Eventually, I began to relax. My lists turned into paragraphs. Then questions. Then dreams.

Today, Creative Journaling is an essential part of my coaching practice and the number one tool I recommend to coaches and clients alike.

What is Creative Journaling?

Gone is the era of the cliched “Dear Diary.” Creative journaling goes beyond chronicling the day’s events. Rather, it helps you tap into your inner wisdom through a combination of drawing and writing.  

When you draw before you write, doodling becomes the magic elixir. It reduces anxiety and makes you more receptive to the coaching process. While countless researchers have studied the benefits of drawing or writing separately, rarely are they mentioned in tandem. I have found that combining the two processes yields incredibly therapeutic effects. 

The Benefits 

Drawing or doodling have health benefits similar to meditation. When you draw, your breathing slows and your heart rate decreases. The combination of observing your work and the physical practice of your hand moving across the page becomes an exercise in mindfulness. In this relaxed flow state, your levels of stress hormones decrease.

The best part is that the health benefits apply regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a “good” artist. Just the process of doodling is enough.

Drawing increases blood flow to the brain and has been shown to give you a little shot of happiness in the form of dopamine. This mood boost allows you to more readily embrace future visioning work. When your mood is elevated, you can really “see” yourself in a better place. From there, you’re more likely to take meaningful steps toward change.

Drawing and writing work in tandem to rewire the brain.

Writing allows you to become like a fly on the wall--an observer to your own life. Through writing, you are able to take a step back and see your current situation from a new perspective. In turn, drawing helps improve your brain’s neuroplasticity. As your thoughts jump between the right and left hemispheres, new neural pathways are formed. 

Simply put, when you draw before you write, you have access to creative problem-solving methods that you literally couldn’t think up before!

Journaling provides a form of self-coaching that’s accessible to anyone. Sure, you can get fancy art supplies and a leather bound journal to make your Creative Journaling process an indulgent, multi-sensory experience. But for under $6, you could acquire all the basics you need to get started. 

Simple Steps for New Journalers

I grew up journaling in a floral diary with a tiny key that I carefully hid away from my little brother. Because of that, it was easy to embrace the practice. Not everyone is ready to make the leap and it can feel especially daunting if you're a novice journaler as an adult.  Here are a few tips to get you started: 

  1. Start simple: Just 5 minutes of basic doodling is enough to reap all of the health/mood benefits mentioned earlier. 
  2. Ask questions: Use your journal as a place to be inquisitive and list your questions, even if you don’t have the answers yet.
  3. Use pen: Whether you’re drawing or writing, there is therapeutic benefit to seeing your transformation unfold on the pages of a journal rather than typing on a device. Ditch perfectionism and show up messy!

For more inspiration, I welcome you to join me in the Creative Journaling Community: a monthly coaching membership where we focus on journaling for personal growth. 

Ready for Liftoff as a Coach?

A lot of talented people dream of having a coaching business, but aren’t quite sure how to get there. We train and certify adventurous coaches like Nicole, making sure you’ve got all you need to build a business you love and transform lives, on your terms. If you’d like to learn more about how to become a life coach, come check out JRNI Life Coach Training program

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